What These Royal Brides Were Doing The Night Before Their Wedding

The following article mentions an eating disorder.

Royal weddings can seem like the stuff of fairy tales. After all, these events involve princess brides dressed in spectacular gowns, dreamy historical venues, and handsome princes waiting at the end of the aisle. Of course, there is a practical side to this level of perfection; royal families will often shell out a fortune to ensure that nothing goes awry on their royal children's big day. In the past, wedding dresses have been a particularly sizable expense, with Princess Catherine of Wales reportedly spending a whopping $332,000 on her bespoke outfit. Meghan Markle also is believed to have spent $265,000 on her off-the-shoulder Givenchy wedding gown.

While it may seem like a dream to wear such pricey attire, there are issues with the amount of spending involved in royal weddings. After all, big price tags can come along with quite a bit of pressure, and royal brides are hardly free from the weighty expectations that naturally go along with such an expensive event. Princess Diana, for example, reportedly confessed that she'd had cold feet ahead of her 1981 wedding to King Charles III. 

Due to this complicated sort of dynamic, different royal brides had vastly different experiences leading up to their weddings. From Queen Elizabeth II's massive party to Diana's evening of regrets, these royal brides reacted to their last night of singledom in very unique ways.

Queen Elizabeth went to a huge party

When Queen Elizabeth II was getting ready to tie the knot in 1947, it was unheard of for women to have bachelorette parties. In fact, no royal bride was able to throw a "hen do," as the British call them, until 1986 when Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, organized a wild night out with her gal pals. Instead, in Elizabeth's era, it was more typical for brides to mark their last day as single girls by enjoying massive parties at their parents' residence. The future queen herself spent the night before her wedding at an elaborate bash attended by some of the biggest names in European royalty. As reported by the Mirror's Cobina Wright at the time (via The New Yorker), "One of the most gorgeous sights I have ever seen in my life was the truly magnificent reception given by Their Majesties the King and Queen at Buckingham Palace last night."

Apparently, the party was so spectacular that Wright struggled to process it all. As she shared in her write-up of the event, "I did not realize there was so much splendor left in this battered old world. And do you know, I was so overwhelmed by the size and beauty of the jewels worn by the women present that I can scarcely remember so much as the color or cut of a single gown I saw." Elizabeth, though, was said to look beautiful, with Wright calling her "is divinely pretty."

Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, went to an opera gala

Queen Elizabeth II was far from being the only royal bride to attend a party on the night before her wedding. In 1956, Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco also attended a gala on the eve of her nuptials with Prince Rainier III. Indeed, in the name of their love, Grace and her prince threw a spectacular event at the Monaco Opera. To nobody's surprise, the American actor showed up to the party looking absolutely gorgeous in a silk Lanvin dress. Naturally, she wore white, signaling her position as the bride-to-be.

Interestingly, though, there was one major factor differentiating Elizabeth's pre-wedding festivities from Grace's. Unlike her British counterpart, Grace did not have just one royal wedding. The reason for this unusual decision is that, in Monaco, it is considered traditional for royal couples to tie the knot twice — first in an informal civil ceremony and then in an elaborate religious one. Of course, according to royal protocol, the second ceremony is the more important of the two. It is not until the religious wedding takes place that a commoner can be officially crowned prince or princess of Monaco.

Because of this, though, when Grace and Rainier headed to the Monaco Opera on the night before their religious wedding, they were technically already married. That being said, the pair did not view themselves as a fully wed couple until the next day when Grace was crowned into her new role.

Princess Diana experienced a surge of anxiety

Although most royal brides are expected to be madly in love with their partners on their wedding day, that is not always the case. Leading up to her wedding with King Charles III, Princess Diana had some serious doubts about the relationship. During the engagement, Diana found proof that her beau was romantically involved with another woman — then-Camilla Parker-Bowles. As a result, on the night before her nuptials, Diana experienced a massive surge of anxiety, as well as other mental health struggles.

Speaking to "Diana: Her True Story" author Andrew Morton about that night, Diana revealed, "I had a very bad fit of bulimia the night before. I ate everything I could possibly find, which amused my sister, because she was staying at Clarence House with me. ... I was sick as a parrot that night. And it was such an indication of what was going on." 

Oblivious of this situation, Charles sent Diana a special note meant to give her strength on the big day. Diana recalled, "I remember, my husband, he sent me a very nice signet ring the night before to Clarence House with the Prince of Wales feathers on it, and a very nice card that said: 'I'm so proud of you. I'll be there at the altar for you tomorrow. Just look them in the eye and knock them dead."

If you need help with an eating disorder, or know someone who does, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).

Queen Camilla battled a sinus infection

King Charles III's wedding to Queen Camilla was a long time coming. After all, by the time the dynamic duo tied the knot in 2005, they had already been in love for almost three decades. However, just because Charles and Camilla's nuptials were long overdue, does not mean that their special day went without a hitch. The truth is that Camilla was sick on her wedding day, and the royal bride spent the night prior trying to get better.

As royal expert Penny Junor noted in a piece for Vanity Fair, "Camilla was actually not well on the day of the wedding. All that week she had been at Ray Mill — the house in Wiltshire she bought in 1995 after her divorce — suffering from sinusitis." By the time the eve of the event came rolling around, Camilla went from her personal home to Clarence House, where she tried to rest up in the company of her daughter and her sister. Unfortunately, the royal bride's efforts to heal weren't enough to beat the sickness, and when she woke up on the morning of the ceremony, Junor said, "She still wasn't feeling well." 

Of course, sinusitis or not, Camilla did at least try to soak up her last days as a single lady. The week before the wedding, Camilla and her gal pals enjoyed low-key gatherings. Junor noted, "Several friends had come to see her, and they had had girlie evenings in their bathrobes."

Princess Charlene of Monaco went to two concerts

Princess Charlene of Monaco is hardly your typical princess. For one thing, she is an Olympic swimmer who has won plenty of international athletic competitions. For another, she does not conform to the classic royal look; unlike Princess Catherine or even Princess Diana, Charlene has been known to experiment with unconventional hairstyles, like the military buzz cut. Perhaps, then, it was in this spirit of individuality that Charlene decided to spend the night before her wedding at a concert.

Indeed, the royal bride and her groom, Prince Albert, decided to attend an Eagles show on the eve of their nuptials. The event, which was open to the public, was a way to signal that the four-day wedding was officially underway. It is worth noting that, like Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III before them, Charlene and Albert got married in a civil ceremony, followed by a religious one. And, no different from their predecessors, the modern royals had another party on the eve of their second wedding, with Jean Michel Jarre performing electronic music at the local port. 

In the end, Charlene and Albert's pre-wedding parties were a smashing success. As Albert later told People, "This was an enormous affair — probably even bigger than I ever thought. It was nice in many ways, we had some great side events leading up to it, like the Eagles concert, a lot of wonderful things. Jean Michel Jarre's show ... That was great."

Princess Catherine enjoyed a night at a luxurious hotel

While some royals enjoy partying it up on the night before their wedding, Princess Catherine preferred to keep things a little bit more low-key. On the night before her wedding to Prince William, Catherine spent the night at the luxurious Goring Hotel with her mother, Carole Middleton, and her sister, Pippa Middleton. This would have been a particularly comfortable arrangement, as the three women were understood to have stayed in the establishment's ultra-posh Royal Suite. As reported by the Daily Mail, this marvelous suite features a piano, a huge bathtub, and multiple bronze statues. It also offer sweeping views of the London skyline. 

It practically goes without saying this was the ideal place for a royal bride to wind down and relax leading up to her big day. However, it is also important to note that Catherine did not exactly enjoy a lot of peace during the rest of the week before her nuptials. The bride-to-be only arrived at the Goring around 5:45 p.m. on the evening before the ceremony — because she had spent most of the entire day rehearsing. And, even when she did walk through the hotel doors, she was surrounded by crowds of enthusiastic fans and, of course, the paparazzi. In that sense, it was likely super important for Catherine to be able to soak up a few hours of rest and relaxation at the Goring, prior to her wedding.

Meghan Markle spent the night somewhere with quite the history

Meghan Markle has long been viewed as a polarizing figure within the royal family, and on the night before her wedding, she stayed at a fairly scandalous establishment. Per Harper's Bazaar, the Duchess of Sussex spent her last evening as a single girl in Cliveden House — a structure with a fascinating and unseemly history. Cliveden House was first built in 1668 by the 2nd Duke of Buckinghamshire, who thought that the building would be the perfect place to keep his mistress. Eventually, though, things went south, and the duke was shot on the property as a result of a duel. 

As the years went on, though, Cliveden House did not escape its scandalous past. In 1961, this location once again became the center of a dramatic extramarital affair. In that year, it was discovered that the British Secretary of State, John Profumo, was using Cliveden House as a place to meet a sex worker by the name of Christine Keeler. Nicknamed the Profumo Affair, this incident catalyzed an explosion of tabloid interest that, ultimately, rocked the U.K. to its core. 

While Meghan's choice to stay at this particular location might seem odd, it seems that she did enjoy her time there. Writing in the book "Finding Freedom" (via Hello!), royal biographers Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand revealed, "Meghan got a facial and energy-healing session at Cliveden House." She also ate ravioli made by Michelin-starred chef André Garret.

Princess Mette-Marit of Norway went to a party

Before Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit met her prince, she lived a relatively normal life. In fact, she was a typical working single mom to her son.  All that changed in 1999 when she crossed paths with Crown Prince Haakon. The pair instantly hit it off, and in 2001, they got married, officially transforming Mette-Marit from a private citizen into a royal bride. 

The extent of Mette-Marit's evolution was perhaps the most obvious the night before the wedding. On this special occasion Haakon's parents, King Harald V and Queen Sonja, threw a massive party to celebrate the bride and groom. The event, which took place at Oslo's Akershus Castle, included some of Europe's most famous royals. Prince Edward and Sophie, Duchess of Edinburgh attended the festivities, dressed to the nines in heirloom jewelry belonging to Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. Other notable figures at the event were Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, and Queen Silvia of Sweden.

For a normal girl, like Mette-Marit, it must have been astonishing to be at a party among so many big names. However, the princess is said to have held her own at the event, even wearing some particularly stunning pieces of jewelry. The most impressive item that Mette-Marit wore to the pre-wedding party was undoubtedly a necklace that had once belonged to Queen Victoria of England. 

Princess Eugenie enjoyed a quiet night with family

While royal weddings are often luxurious events, some princesses spend the eve of the big day soaking up life's simpler pleasures. Princess Eugenie, for one, spent the night before her 2018 nuptials bonding with the people she loves the most. As People reported at the time, she chose to join her parents, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, at their residence for a relaxed night of family bonding. Of course, the evening was not completely casual — Andrew and Fergie live in a 30-bedroom palace known as the Royal Lodge. That being said, Eugenie's simpler celebration contrasts substantially from Princess Catherine and Meghan Markle's more over-the-top hotel stays 

Interestingly, Eugenie's then-fiancé, Jack Brooskbank, did not stay with Eugenie on the night before the ceremony. Instead, as a way of maintaining the tradition of the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding, Jack slept at another undisclosed location in Windsor. 

However, the night following the wedding, the newlyweds were willing to break the tradition of staying in a honeymoon location. As Fergie revealed in an interview with the Daily Mail, the couple actually spent their first evening as husband and wife at the Royal Lodge. The duchess explained, "And the Sunday after the wedding, I said to Eugenie and Jack: 'Do you want to stay somewhere special?' No. They wanted to stay at Royal Lodge. So the night before their honeymoon, the whole family were eating pizza together in the kitchen."

Princess Beatrice kept things casual

Just like her sister, Princess Beatrice tried to keep things laid-back on the night before her wedding. However, unlike Princess Eugenie, Beatrice did not get married in a huge blow-out event. As People reported at the time, she tied the knot during the middle of the pandemic in a small ceremony with only 20 guests. In the name of keeping things small, Beatrice's nuptials took place at the Royal Chapel of All Saints — a romantic chapel located on the grounds of her parents' residence at the Royal Lodge.

Because of this unique set-up, Beatrice and all of her wedding guests spent the night before the ceremony at her parents' home. It is likely that this intimate group of friends and family used this special time to bond. Breaking royal protocol, Beatrice and her groom, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, decided not to sleep separately on the eve of the event.  

Interestingly, despite Beatrice's royal status, the pre-wedding festivities are believed to have been relatively casual. After all, the day before the big event, Eugenie took to social media to update her followers on how the royal bride was holding up. The princess' Instagram post showed that Beatrice was casually dressed in a red and blue striped T-shirt and a scrunchie. The gorgeous bride-to-be was featured wandering the lawn at the Royal Lodge and smiling. As she was wearing no makeup, we can guess that the eve of her wedding was an informal affair.